English 203

Graduate Readings: On Life

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Spring 2006 Jones, Donna V.
Jones, Donna
TTh 12:30-2 204 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"Robert J. Richards, The Romantic View of Life

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Hints Towards a Notion of a More Comprehensive Theory of Life

Friedrich Nietzsche, Birth of Tragedy

Henri Bergson, Selected Writings, Matter and Memory

Aime Cesaire, Collected Poetry

Leopold Sengho,r Liberation

Jose Carlos Mariategui, Selected Essays

Gilles Deleuze, Bergsonism, Immanent Life

Elizabeth Grosz The Nick of Time"


The structuring influence of vitalist aesthetics can be felt in the philosophy of the Fruhromantiks, Georg Simmel's tragedy of culture, the cult of Bergson in France, the pseudo-Nietzschean politics of Rosenberg, modernist poetics in North America, the Sorelian politics of Mariategui, and the radical poetics of N'gritude. While because of its association with fascist politics on the one hand and the breathtaking advances in the understanding of cellular machinery on the other hand Lebensphilosphie seems today to be mystifying and obstructionist, I urge against the building of an intellectual cordon sanitaire around a powerful discourse which is all too easy to repress. It is best in my opinion to face squarely the challenges which vitalist thought poses or rather the limits which vitalism exposes the limited hold of Enlightenment reason, scientific method, and parliamentary palaver on modern subjects. Whether as anti-dialectical philosophy vitalism is necessarily a form of ahistoric naturalism will be a major question.

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